Highlights From Art Basel Miami 2021

Highlights From Art Basel Miami 2021

The mainstream art world began to pay attention to NFTs around mid-2020, after trading volume and floor prices in NFT marketplaces boomed. Now, after a year and a half of market madness, NFTs have finally invaded traditional art expos, exhibits and auctions. Art Basel Miami, an important annual fair for the Western art world, was the first expo to showcase NFTs on a large scale. The event is held each December, but was canceled in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. 

The fair brought together more than 250 renowned art galleries and independent artists. It is estimated that there were thousands of art pieces and hundreds of events. The departments were called Galleries (main), Positions (emerging artists), Nova (new works), Survey ("old" pieces from the last century) and Editions (works on paper). Almost every category featured NFTs, with QR codes and hidden crypto surprises interspersed throughout many events. Featured here are some of the best highlights of the week. 

Wynwood Studios

Wynwood Studios showed up in Miami with an ambitious NFT art party project, with the idea of having four days of experiences combining live music, art displays and exclusive airdrops for all attendees. Wynwood received support from FTX for the airdrops and sales—FTX has been investing heavily into the NFT space, and it is no surprise that it wanted to have a significant presence at Art Basel Miami. The Art Plug curated the works of dozens of creators, while blockchain game Star Atlas provided the background metaverse. 


As mentioned above, the US cryptocurrency exchange and NFT marketplace FTX made a significant marketing effort in Miami. In addition to processing payments and auctions for other exhibitions and galleries, FTX had an exhibit in direct cooperation with independent artists. These exhibits also served as advertisements to promote the exchange and the latest upgrades to its NFT marketplace. 

"Layers of Autumn" by @johncwingfield, one of the many artworks for sale at the FTX exhibit

BAYC Basel

Given its outsized presence at NFT.NYC just weeks ago, it was expected that BAYC—or its collectors—would make a splash in Miami. Individual collectors organized a number of club events with no affiliation to the creators. They even brewed a new custom beer to celebrate the occasion. The locations of various BAYC events were kept secret until the last minute. 


Doodles, a community-driven NFT collection that has gained significant traction with influencers and collectors in recent months, partnered with Nifty Gateway to organize a scavenger hunt in Art Basel. Four Doodles were hidden in different spots in Miami Beach, marked with a sign that included the wallet address and the seed phrase to unlock it. 

Doodles also partnered with MoonPay to set up an art gallery with interactive murals in both the exteriors and the indoor spaces, exclusive merch, guest artists and musicians, and a 72-hour limited auction. 


Aorist is a company that claims to be a "next-generation cultural institution for an ecologically minded NFT marketplace." The company is looking to create a space for emerging digital artists to work and publish in the simplest and most eco-friendly way possible. 

Their exhibit, entitled ‘Crossroads,’ was made in collaboration with ClimateTrade and supported by the Algorand cryptocurrency which operates one of the greenest blockchains. The exhibit was an experience that combined physical installations, augmented reality and digital art from various artists.

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